NORWOOD –– School history was made at South Stanly last Friday when senior Justin Gaddy became the fourth Bull to reach 1,000 career points.
Going into the game —an eventual 84-74 South Stanly win over the South Davidson Wildcats — the guard only needed eight points to reach the achievement.
The moment arrived with 11 seconds left in the first quarter. Gaddy hit a fast-break layup to reach the 1,000-point mark. The game was momentarily paused to honor the senior at midcourt.
“It’s a testament to how hard Justin has worked,” said third-year head coach Sean Whitley. “He came in as sophomore for us on the varsity team as a shooter. Everybody identified him as a shooter, so he worked on his mid–range game, his passing and he’s also unbelievable at the foul line. He deserves every bit of this celebration.”
Gaddy, who has averaged 19.8 points per game this season, recorded 25 points on his landmark night as the Bulls (15-5, 10-2) notched their seventh consecutive win with a season-high 84 points.
South Stanly senior Jaquez Cooke led all players with a career-high 37 points, including 21 in the second half of the contest.
Despite the loss, the Wildcats (1-17, 1-11) also had their biggest offensive showing of the year. Sophomore Thomas Ellington put up 32 points and kept his team in it for the majority of the game. The point guard rattled off 19 consecutive points for his team during one stretch in the first half.
The Wildcats held a 41-40 halftime lead before the Bulls pulled away with a 27-14 run in the third quarter. South Stanly was able to maintain its lead in the fourth quarter thanks to the complementary efforts of Gaddy and Cooke.
“I told them to step up the defensive intensity — that was the biggest thing,” said Whitley. “We were trying to do too much individual defense rather than team defense.”
Both teams spent plenty of time at the free–throw line, with the Bulls making 23 of their 42 attempts and the Wildcats making 20 of 29.
With the victory, the Bulls are now tied with Chatham Central (16-4, 10-1) and North Rowan (12-6, 10-2) with a conference-leading ten wins. South Stanly is currently in position for a berth in the state playoffs, though North Stanly (11-8, 8-4) isn’t too far behind.
South Stanly will travel to New London for a matchup with the Comets this week — the Bulls won 47-44 in their previous meeting Jan. 3. After that, the Bulls will face Uwharrie Charter Academy (6-10, 4-17), North Moore (4-14, 2-8) and Albemarle (7-13, 5-7) to close out the regular season.
“We’re playing good basketball in spurts,” said Whitley. “There are moments when we look really good, and there are moments still where we look like it’s the first week of the season. At this point, we’re trying to build consistency so we can peak in February — that’s the goal.”